ISU softball dominates both sides of field in doubleheader


Ashley Ruden/Iowa State Daily

Sophomore Cathlin Bingham slaps a ball for Iowa State during the Iowa Central game.

Kevin Horner

After the offense struggled in the Big 4 Fall Tournament, the ISU softball team nearly doubled its offensive production in only half of the games Oct. 12.

This was accomplished as the Cyclones faced Iowa Central Community College in a doubleheader matchup at the Cyclone Sports Complex.

Iowa State defeated Iowa Central in each of the two games by scores of 13-0 and 31-1 respectively.

The substantial leads allowed young players to see not only numerous at-bats but also some time in the field as the majority of the defensive starters exited after the opening four innings of each game.

“It was really nice [to get time in the field],” said freshman left fielder Kaila Konz. “After working so hard during the week, it’s nice to get some playing time.”

Konz, who replaced Cathlin Bingham in left field during the fifth inning of both games, finished with four RBIs on a .500 day at the plate. 

“I had been struggling with my hitting a little bit,” said Konz. “So today helped a lot and makes me want to hit more.”

Konz, alongside her other freshmen teammates, started the game at the plate as the Cyclones batted 13 players from the beginning of both games. Those who did not start in the field, Konz and freshman right fielder Niki Turner, entered the game in the top of the fifth inning.

“I thought that [the freshmen] did a really good job,” said ISU softball coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler. “They worked very hard in practice, and they’re getting better all the time.”

Those freshmen combined to go 11-39 at the plate with 15 RBIs and10 runs scored.

Despite the performances of the Cyclone freshmen at the plate and in the field, a large portion of that success is due to the explosive offense and stifling defense of the entire team, bringing home a total of 44 runs while surrendering just one.

“Today we were more patient at the plate,” said junior center fielder Brittany Gomez. “Last weekend we were overly excited to swing at balls. Today we got a lot more hits and walks than last weekend.”

The Cyclones notched an impressive 37 hits in the two victories over the Tritons, as well as adding 16 walks.

In a single game, there were 11 walks and 23 hits came. That was also the game where the ISU offense exploded for 31 total runs, 20 of which came in just two innings. 

In the Big 4 Fall Tournament on Oct. 4 and 5, in four games, the ISU batters combined for only 25 runs. That falls six runs short of Iowa State’s run total in their second game against Iowa Central.

“I think for the most part we just did our job,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “We did what we needed to do, especially after last weekend.”

Not only did the Cyclones turn around offensively after the 1-3 finish at the Big Four Fall Tournament, but the pitching effort vastly improved as well.

After allowing 25 runs over the four games, the Cyclones held the Tritons to just one run on four hits over the two-game span. The ISU defense was led by sophomore Katie Johnson and freshman Bri Weilbacher.

Johnson, after recording losses to both Iowa and Drake, had a refreshing day on the mound as she was given the opportunity to pitch with a very decisive lead almost the entire time she stood on the mound.

“I was little bit more relaxed this weekend,” Johnson said. “We worked what we needed to work on and came out as a team. Our defense was solid.”

That Cyclone defense did not commit a single error in either of the games Oct. 12. Senior shortstop Lexi Slater also prevented two additional runs from being scored in the first inning of game two with two throws perfectly placed into catcher Rachel Hartman’s glove at home plate. All Hartman had to do was apply the tags.

On Oct. 12, the Cyclone offense resembled that record-setting .325 batting average from last season. At times they even even exceeded that mark. And with the pitching staff performing as well as they did in the doubleheader, the future continues to look bright for ISU softball.

“I think it’s awesome what we did today,” Johnson said. “I think it’s great to set that tone, especially if we carry it into next weekend and into the rest of the season. I think this year will be very exciting.”